Ever since companies have been making products and providing services, customers new and old have been asking the people that they trust – peers, colleagues, friends and family members – for recommendations and suggestions about the best of everything.
This social proof has empowered consumers but also provides a tremendous opportunity for brands who utilize these tools to enrich their website and maximize the visitor's experience... and conversion chances.
Embedded tweets, reviews, social sharing, customer feedback, conversations and statistics all add credibility and, critically, expedite the user's journey towards building trust in a brand, which is a vital and very necessary step before they will become a customer.
Did you know that while three in five U.S. adults have said that they feel vulnerable to being hacked online, 69 percent of these same people reuse their password on more than one site?
Furthermore, 72 percent have said that they are concerned about their online data being used without their knowledge, but more than one-third (36 percent) store their personal information, such as credit card data, on certain websites for convenience.
You do the math.
We've seen a lot of security breaches across our favourite websites over the past 12 months – Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, Sony, Hotmail and Apple have all had heavily-publicized hacking incidents – and when you look at the statistics it's pretty easy to see why: when it comes to online security, many people say all the right things, then go on to do the exact opposite.
It amazes me that even in today's social media savvy business environment there are still big companies that fail to engage with their customers, particularly customers that are frustrated and unhappy. In fact, a variety of research shows that ignoring those customers is the worst possible strategy.
United Breaks Guitars, But Not Their Silence
My personal nominee for the "Stony Silence Award" goes to United Airlines, who has never responded to my tweets about destroyed luggage, flight delays, and indifferent personnel. I probably tweeted a few good things about United along the way, and had no response to those, either. (Of course, lack of response to complaints doesn't mean the social media conversation about the brand doesn't keep right on going. The United Breaks Guitars video, produced by an unhappy customer, has garnered over 12 million views to date.)
Because using social media for marketing is still a relatively young practice, many misconceptions about it continue to float around out there. Here are 5 that I hear all the time, followed by the truth:
1. Social media cannot be used in my industry
Uh, really? Why not? Your customers are people, and chances are they are already using Facebook and LinkedIn – and maybe Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest too. Instead of making broad assumptions, get online and spend 30 minutes searching topics and keywords that are industry-specific. You might be surprised about who is talking about what.
Consumers are increasingly finding the answers to their questions in social network services, not search engines.
Experian Hitwise data shows UK visits to major search engines dropped by 100 million through August, to 2.21 billion.
Whilst that can be partly attributed to a high watermark in the previous, Olympic month of July, the trend is also longer term – August search visits were also 40 million down year-on-year.
Asked if searchers' time was moving to social, Hitwise told paidContent:
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